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Nicaragua Covid Tests

USA Ends Covid Testing Requirements for Travelers and Returning Tourists

The United States is set to end current Covid testing requirements for foreign travelers and returning tourists entering its territory. An official announcement is expected today.

It’s been a long time coming but reports this morning in the U.S. media seem certain that the United States is about to announce the scrapping of Covid tests to enter the country.

As it stands, all travelers entering or returning to the U.S. need to provide a negative Covid test taken within 24 hours of travel. This has been an onerous and expensive requirement for tourists to Central America, many of whom have had to scramble to get their tests in that last day before leaving the country and returning home.

And although most international airports around the region have testing facilities, the whole process has been a definite impediment to many U.S. travelers from going abroad in the first place.

The official announcement regarding the change has not yet been made, but insiders expect the White House and the CDC to announce today that Covid tests won’t be needed from midnight on Sunday, June 12. Non-U.S. citizens entering the United States will still need to show proof of full vaccination against Covid.

According to reports, the Centers for Disease Control will continue to recommend covid testing before entry to the United States, and will monitor the situation every 90 days.

A long time coming

The move comes amid increasing pressure from the travel industry in the United States who’ve become increasingly frustrated watching other countries around the world drop their testing requirements while their country remained stuck in an outdated system.

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow spoke last month about the travel industry being “disproportionately harmed by this requirement.

Other countries with whom we directly compete for global travelers have removed their pre-departure testing requirements and reopened their tourism economies, putting the U.S. at a serious competitive disadvantage for export dollars,” he said.

From a Central American point of view, the news is excellent. U.S. travelers by far represent the largest percentage of tourists to the region. There’s no doubt that when you’re looking at an average cost of $50 per test to go home, not to mention the hassle of going through the process on your last day, it put many off from coming.

To make matters worse, no country in Central America ever accepted home testing kits for departing travelers, meaning airlines were not allowed to board passengers with these. They had to go somewhere and pay for testing during their last 24 hours.

From Sunday, though, this is now over, at least for departing the region and entering the United States. But it’s worth looking at the testing requirements to enter Central America. Unvaccinated travelers arriving from the U.S. to Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama still need to provide a negative Covid test, while Nicaragua requires a Covid test from both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Only Costa Rica and El Salvador have zero testing requirements for travelers entering their territories.

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